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Monday, February 26, 2007
Who's going to protect our kids from the nutty librarians?
What's the saying, if you are a frustrated writer, you become a book critic? Well some librarians must really be frustrated.
I agree with this columnist, what is all this "protect the kids" hoohaa about. Protect kids from what, stupid adults?
Look at the statue of the woman above, it is proudly shown at a beach in France. The statue of Michelangelo's David is in the art museum in Florence, Italy. There is a life sized replica of it right outside the museum as you walk in. That means every single little kid going into the art museum will see David in all his naked glory.
This is from a country where in a recent survey 70% of Italians said they would nude sunbathe if others did too.
And guess what. Italy has a lower teenage pregnancy rates than the US. Maybe seeing David and people topless and nude sunbathing at the beach, means nudity is not that big of a deal.
Many school libraries in the US still won't stock Tom Sawyer and Catcher in the Rye. They censor what our kids can read to "protect them." Obviously they aren't educating them.
Who's going to protect us from the nutty librarians?
I thought the Minutemen form Concord fought against the British because we were oppressed? Maybe it is time that they came back.
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Uh, can you really say that?
Language in kids' book creates quite a 'hoohaa'
By Katy Burns
February 25. 2007 10:00AM
It's hard to imagine a more placid literary pool than the world of children's books. And it's even harder to imagine books more admired than those selected each year for the American Library Association's prestigious Newbery Medal, awarded to "the most distinguished American children's book published the previous year."
That was the case, anyway. Until word got out about author Susan Patron's The Higher Power of Lucky, the latest Newbery recipient. It seems that on the very first page of the book, its 10-year-old heroine, Lucky Trimble, is eavesdropping when she hears another character remark that his dog was bitten by a rattlesnake on - avert your eyes here, children! - his scrotum.
Yes. That mysterious body part - "in most male animals, the pouch of skin holding the testicles and related structures," according to our desktop dictionary - makes an appearance in a book aimed at children. What's next? Breasts?
It proved all too much for some children's librarians, who vowed to ban the book from their shelves. This kicked off a rumpus that clogged library-type blogs and eventually ended up in a story in the New York Times that ran near the top of its list of most e-mailed stories for well over a week.
"This book included what I call a Howard Stern-type shock treatment just to see how far they could push the envelope, but they didn't have the children in mind," wrote Colorado librarian Dana Nilsson, rallying the just-say-no troops. When the Times tracked her down, Nilsson sniffed that "you won't find men's genitalia in quality literature."
Uh, we're actually talking here about dogs' genitalia - genitalia that dogs are most happy to display and do lots worse things with, as anyone who has spent more than 30 minutes around dogs can attest.
Nilsson and her allies were
Hilariously derided in some online blogs, such as librarian.net, where "John" neatly summed up his take on the issue: "Jeez, what a bunch of sad sacks. Don't they have anything better to do than hang around, itching for a fight?"
Alas, a little mockery won't deter our nation's self-anointed guardians of public morals, particularly when it comes to children. Just weeks ago, the operators of a theater in Florida were upbraided by a woman who'd been driving by the place with her niece when the sheltered child's eyes fell on the marquee advertising The Vagina Monologues. The proprietors, in a nod to propriety, redid the sign. It now promotes The Hoohaa Monologues.
Less amusingly, in September, a 51-year-old Texas teacher with 28 years of classroom experience was actually suspended from her job when she took her fifth-grade class on a field trip (approved in advance by the principal) to the Dallas Museum of Art. It seems she exposed the little dears to sculptures of naked people. A memo from the principal (yes, the one who had approved the trip) said that "students were exposed to nude statues and other nude art representations" by the teacher.
Imagine that. In a museum, of all places!
The school district superintendent subsequently said the teacher had been refused transfer to another school and would not have her contract renewed.
I won't say that we as a nation are slightly unhinged about "protecting" our children from reality, but we have among us a fair share of nut jobs. To use a technical term.
"Scrotum," by the way, is also a technical term, and it would probably do the book-reading kiddies good to learn the real name of an anatomical feature most of them already know by any number of crude names.
That's the thing about these hothouse youngsters some are so keen to shield from the horror of marble statues of naked Greek athletes and proper name for body parts: If I remember anything about childhood at all, most kids are pretty filthy-minded, especially when it comes to rude terms for body parts and functions.
And look at the world they live in! By 9 or 10 - the age of Lucky's target audience - they're steeped in the lowest of pop culture, everything from raunchy rap lyrics to the state of dress (or, lately, undress) of barely post-pubescent starlets and singers who present themselves as role models. And one shudders to think of what technically savvy youngsters are stumbling across on the 'net.
Are they really going to be seriously damaged by exposure to the word "scrotum?" Or nude Greeks in heroic poses? Or even the You-Know-What Monologues?
Oh, well, at least the seriously prudish offer up hilarity for the rest of us. And if you doubt me, check librarian.net and scroll to "scrotum!"